It should be some Monday Night Football game when the Cleveland Browns host the Baltimore Ravens in five days.
The entire nation gets to watch the 1-7 Browns, warts and all. Brady Quinn might start at quarterback, but then again it could be Derek Anderson. Brett Favre has nothing on Browns coach Eric Mangini when it comes to prognostication.
Does it really matter which quarterback gets the call, other than for Notre Dame fans that get all warm and fuzzy each time they see Quinn flex his muscles? This is a potential ratings disaster for "ESPN," with the exception of the northeastern Ohio market, where the 1980 "Kardiac Kids" are revered despite not having won a single playoff game.
The only intrigue to Monday's game in recent weeks was a planned fan boycott of the opening kickoff. The idea was to have 72,000 empty seats at the start of the game, which was a silly idea from the start and a way for the organizers to show that they have too much time on their hands.
Owner Randy Lerner apparently threw an effective roadblock into the plan when he hosted the two men in his office last week. The fans walked away impressed from what they heard from Lerner and are expected to be in their seats at kickoff time.
This is what it's become? The owner and two fans doing lunch at the team facility while the owner couldn't find the time to spend 20 minutes with reporters. I thought Peter King of "Sports Illustrated" and "NBC" was the only person allowed to stroll the hallowed halls and break bread with the highest powers of the organization. (You can occasionally find out what was on the menu when you read his weekly column.)
When I think of the Browns and Monday Night Football, I think of the first telecast in the concept hatched by the late Roone Arledge of "ABC Sports" in 1970. Howard Cosell, Keith Jackson and Don Meredith were in the booth at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland before a crowd of 85,703 on Sept. 21 to watch the Browns defeat Joe Namath and the New York Jets, 31-21.
The crowd was then and still is the largest to ever watch the Browns play at home. Homer Jones thrilled them all when he returned the second-half kick off for a touchdown to give the Browns the lead.
Ah, the good, old days. Even though the 1970s paled in comparison to the 1960s, the Browns managed five winning seasons and two playoff appearances in the decade. What fan wouldn't take those results now?
Lerner was 8 years old at the time. He had no way to know that fate would result in then-owner Art Modell moving the franchise to Baltimore in 1995 and his late father, Al, assuming ownership of the expansion franchise in 1999.
Now Lerner sits in his office and entertains fans, silences a potential boycott, fires former general manager George Kokinis, contemplates the hiring of an all-mighty football guru and wonders when the good times will return. Looking down from his second-floor office, the view of the team that Mangini has put on the field can't be a pretty sight.
If you're a glass-is-half-full person, you might take comfort in knowing that Lerner is determined to identify the problems and fix them. His mind, as many think, isn't fixated on the Aston Villa soccer team he owns in England's Premier League.
If the glass is half empty in your view of the situation, nothing will change as long as Lerner owns the team and Mangini is the coach.
Cosell would have had a field day with this team.